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Plaintiff Tells Why She Sued Microsoft After Windows 10 Upgrade

Microsoft has lost a California lawsuit charging that an unauthorized Windows 10 upgrade disrupted a business, and the plaintiff today explained her case.

The lawsuit was brought by Teri Goldstein, CEO and owner of TG Travel Group LLC, based in Sausalito, Calif. Goldstein was awarded $10,000 after an unexpected Windows 10 upgrade caused crashes, leaving her PC "unusable" for a period of days, as reported by Matt Day in The Seattle Times. The Times story added that Microsoft had dropped its appeal of the judgment to avoid future litigation costs, citing a company spokeswoman.

Goldstein had been unsuccessful in getting help from Microsoft's customer support after experiencing the Windows 10 problems. Consequently, she sued and sought reimbursement for her costs, as well as for the expense of a new computer, according to the Times account. Microsoft's Windows 10 upgrade push has been widely reported to induce surprise upgrades, but these complaints didn't seem to show up in court judgments, as reported by the press. However, that circumstance could be changing.

Microsoft's End User License Agreement (EULA) for Windows 10 is stern stuff. It warns that users can only resort to binding arbitration or small claims courts in some circumstances, and that class action lawsuits are strictly prohibited. Still, Goldstein noted that state laws may give Windows 10 users some additional legal resources.

Goldstein explained via an e-mail that she filed an individual suit in a California small claims court. And she did it because Microsoft needed some accountability.

"Microsoft needed to be held accountable for its negligence regarding the forced Windows 10 upgrade which rendered many users' computers useless," Goldstein said. "Microsoft cannot just say, 'Read our User agreement form, we hold no responsibility, you cannot sue us and go away.' Just because they are a large corporation does not make them exempt from consumer business rules."

California law is somewhat helpful in this regard, she noted.

"California is one of the strictest states in the USA regarding consumer rights," Goldstein said. "There is a California Uniform Commercial Code which protects consumers. In section 1792 it clearly states that all products and services sold or distributed in California have an implied warranty to be fit for purpose. This code overrides any corporation's user agreement form. Microsoft knew that its Windows 10 was not fit for purpose and allowed its release anyway. They used thousands of people like myself to learn how to troubleshoot the problems with no concern of consequences to the users. This is totally wrong."

Goldstein encouraged people to fight back.

"I urge every person who has a consumer issue to know their rights and fight back," she said. "Only then will large corporations begin to understand that they cannot just do what they want."

Possibly, Goldstein's case will be one of more to come.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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